News - February 28, 2013

'Shame that something like this leads to dismissal'

Teacher dismissed after looking at internet porn.
Decision is 'irrevocable'.

Screenshot from WUR TV
Should the university instantly dismiss a teacher who looks at porn? No, say most of those discussing the question on the Resource website. Watching porn at work, says one,  'is not allowed, and it is not good, but is it really such a crime?' 'Pity that something so stupid leads to instant dismissal,' says another. And: 'This man is no different from all the rest, including me. Nearly everyone uses porn. How incredibly hypocritical.'
These are all responses to a report on the dismissal of a guest lecturer who was caught looking at a porn site. It happened after a lecture on Advanced Food Chemistry on Tuesday 19 February. The classroom was empty but
the teacher did not realize the beamer was still on and WUR TV was still recording.
Students quickly realized what was going on. A screenshot did the rounds and in no time hundreds of students had heard about the 'porn prof' via Whatsapp or email. The chair group was also informed, upon which the lecturer was informed that he need not come back. The Flemish emeritus professor had been a guest lecturer on the Master's in Food Technology for seven years, and this was to be his last year.
Last Monday the news was picked up by the national and international press. The Belgian paper Nieuwsblad  identified the lecturer, who told them he had ended up on the porn site by accident. 'The Dutch have a qwerty keyboard while in Belgium I am used to an azerty keyboard. Only after three minutes of constantly pressing 'escape' did I manage to switch off the computer.'
The responses to the professor's dismissal are influenced by the fact that he was known as an excellent teacher. 'He knew how to get you interested,' one of his students told Resource. Another added: 'He could explain things very well and enthusiastically. I have a lot of sympathy with him.' Colleagues are supportive too. Lecturer Julia Diederen calls him 'a very friendly, helpful man' and says, 'I thinks it's an awfully sad.'
But the decision is irrevocable, Professor Harry Gruppen (Food Technology) informs us through spokesman Simon Vink. 'This action is in line with the network regulations. The Wageningen network is not for use for porn. If you do that, you are out.'
And if it happens to a teacher with tenure? Simon Vink: 'Then he is in deep trouble. In principle it is reason enough to end his contract.'